THE JETSONS #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Pier Britto, and Amanda Conner
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
THE JETSONS #1 gives a brilliantly realized look at everyone's favorite space-age family. With nods to the original series and potent world-building, new fans should be excited about this series' continuation!
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Futuristic Utopianism
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Growing up, THE JETSONS television show from Hanna-Barbara animation was a mainstay. I loved the beautiful cyber-utopia landscape that I saw. In many ways, THE JETSONS acted as my goofy introduction into the science-fiction genre. So with DC Comics acquisition of the rights to Hanna-Barbara’s characters, they have published some brilliant reimaginings of our favorite childhood icons. From SCOOBY APOCALYPSE to FUTURE QUEST and the upcoming RUFF N’ REDDY SHOW, DC has nailed it with these new storylines. Now, the publisher has brought the universe’s most beloved space-age family to life in THE JETSONS #1.

Back in March 2017, DC released a crossover between time-traveling Booster Gold and the prehistoric Flintstones. While this story isn’t their strongest showing, the true star of the piece is a short, eight-page preview showcasing DC’s direction for their JETSONS line. In the BLACK MIRROR inspired story, Grandma Jetson has only hours to live. Despite the controversies, Rosie decides to undergo a new procedure wherein her consciousness would be transferred into a robotic body, thus preserving her mind forever. THE JETSONS preview did a brilliant job setting up the new world DC had constructed by giving a poignant look at the possible future and ethics of medical science and robotics. In THE JETSONS #1, readers will be treated to this same realistic version of the animated characters.

Forward, Into the Future!

THE JETSONS #1
Image courtesy of DC COMICS

In THE JETSONS #1, the titular family lives in a floating, technologically rich city. Flying cars fill the skies above a vast blue ocean. On the surface, everything seems idyllic. Beneath said surface, though, hides a dangerous secret. The old world is gone. Global warming forced the seas to rise, swallowing much of the land and changing the lives of its denizens. Years later, though, the real troubles began when an asteroid struck the Earth, forcing waters to rise even further. Still, peace has come to the planet at last, and humanity has yet again survived. It’s not all bad.

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George, Jane, Judy, and Elroy Jetson live a good life in this society. George works as an engineer for the overzealous Mr. Spacely. Elroy spends his days at school, sneaking out whenever possible to dive beneath the irradiated sea in search of artifacts. The popular Judy lives for parties and to spend time with her robotic grandmother. Only Jane Jetson sees the true danger lurking on the horizon. As a scientist, Jane has discovered that the destructive asteroid left something behind. A massive magnetic ball rolls along the ocean floor, and while no one knows what it is, Jane has found its twin. Now, Jane must work fast to not only protect her family but to save the entire planet.

Animated Brilliance

I found myself falling in love with THE JETSONS #1. Above anything else, it has a deep respect for the source material. Writer Jimmy Palmiotti implants several nods to the original show that made me as a fan smile. The most obvious are the allusions to THE JETSONS theme song’s family roll call on the first page. Despite the drastic narrative differences, this story feels like THE JETSONS. The characters have similar, if not more well-rounded, personalities. The brilliance here is in the way Palmiotti manages to adapt the original story. Elroy especially still feels like the same kid from the cartoons, overly-excited and playful. Also, Palmiotti isn’t afraid to crack a silly joke on the page, which only helps the old-school feel.

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However, the true intrigue in THE JETSONS #1 comes from the differences. Palmiotti has developed a wonderfully realistic world. Using the scientific backbone to instill drama and tension into this story gives it a unique narrative seam that just feels right. Once readers learn about the impending doom, the ticking clock becomes palpably clear. The only real complaint I can give is minor: there’s a lot of story in this issue and, at times, the plot slows to a crawl in the flood of information. It all presents well and ties in beautifully to the grand scheme of the world. There’s just a lot to take in at times.

The Jetson Family

THE JETSONS #1
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The characterization in THE JETSONS #1 truly surprised me. While FUTURE QUEST, THE FLINTSTONES, and SCOOBY APOCALYPSE weren’t shy about their characterization, the primary draw of those stories comes from the unique plots. THE JETSONS #1, though, gives the characters the spotlight. The whole story delves into the hearts and minds of this space-age family. Every family member has a chance to make their voice heard. I especially enjoy the renewed focus on Jane Jetson as the scientific wunderkind. This detail gives her a more pressing place in the plot without straying too far from the loving mother and wife that was in the cartoons.

Even Rosie, the grandmother turned robotic maid, has a poignant viewpoint on the world that comes out on the page. In fact, one of my favorite sequences in the entire comic stems from a conversation between George and Rosie. George questions the ethics and theology of Rosie’s decision, wondering if she regrets it. I didn’t know I wanted hard ethical philosophy in my Hanna-Barbara comics, but I got it and it’s brilliant.

The Great Blue Expanse

THE JETSONS #1
Courtesy of DC COMICS

Pier Brito’s work on THE JETSONS #1’s visual aesthetic ties its wonders together. Though it strays from the original cartoon art-style, it still feels reminiscent of old-school Saturday morning action cartoons. The clean line work and colors remind me a lot of shows like BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES or SPIDER-MAN. I especially enjoy the nods to the original character designs, though altered into Brito’s more realistic interpretation.

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However, nothing compares to Brito’s work on the environments. Brito creates a dichotomy within the pages between new and old. The floating city of THE JETSONS #1 is full of sleek lines and crisp colors (from Amanda Conners). Meanwhile, the undersea ruins that Elroy encounters feel murky, with messy, grungy line work in a cool gray landscape. This dichotomy helps to form a more realistic and haunting vision of the before and after of this futuristic Earth. Brito and Conner do a wonderful job here.

FINAL THOUGHTS: THE JETSONS #1

THE JETSONS #1 is a fantastic reimagining of the classic Hanna-Barbara cartoon. With brilliant nods to the original series and even more amazing world-building, Palmiotti, Brito, and Conner have crafted a landscape that feels both utopic and dangerous. The overarching plot line of planetary destruction may seem over the top and potentially contrived, but Palmiotti handles it with care as he digs into the Jetson family unit. This isn’t a grand-scale adventure. THE JETSONS #1 is a family narrative first and foremost, and readers should get excited about future issues!

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